Sunday, 1 December 2013

Arthur - Women Memorial Workers

Location:  Wellington County   N 43 49.943  W 080 32.268
In Memorial Park, at 150 George Street, on the corner with Frederick Street West.

Previously on September 8, 2013, I had featured the outstanding cenotaph in the village of Arthur, known as Canada's Most Patriotic Village due to its high ratio of men and women who served their country in time of war. 
Today's memorial is a tribute to the women who worked so diligently to create the cenotaph, after the Great War, in honour of those brave souls who fought and died in our service.  The memorial sits in the walkway in front of the cenotaph, near the base of the original fieldstone memorial.

Marker text:
November 11, 1918.  "The War to End All Wars" was over.  In the Arthur area, 41
soldiers had been killed and many more wounded.  Soon a group of local ladies were
organized under the name Women Memorial Workers.  Their objective was to
honour those men from the area who had enlisted and especially those who had paid
the supreme sacrifice.

The Women purchased the three lots comprising this property and proceeded to raise
sufficient funds to build a Cenotaph Monument on the site.  The project became a
community effort with hundreds making contributions.  The architect was Major
Gibson of Toronto who had commanded some of the local soldiers overseas.  The
contractor was Ed Doherty, a local stone mason, who had built many of the
foundations for the bank barns in the area.  A decision was made to build the
monument with stones gathered from local farms.  It turned out to be the first
fieldstone Cenotaph Monument in the Province.

On August 6, 1923, before the largest crowd ever assembled in the Village, Mrs. David
Brocklebank, President of the Women Memorial Workers, unveiled the monument at
the conclusion of a three-hour ceremony.  The new Cenotaph received many
compliments including one from the Toronto Star that described it as "a memorial
whose beauty and design cannot be equaled in the Province".

After 1923, the Women continued their work landscaping the surrounding grounds
and, in 1930, turned the park and Cenotaph Monument over to the village with a
considerable financial contribution for perpetual upkeep

Funding for this plaque was provided by the Arthur and Area Historical Society and
the Arthur Revitalization Committee.

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